Chapter 8 - Woodward - Joan Woodward's Study of Technology...

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Joan Woodward’s Study of Technology and Organization Structure Woodward studied the organizational structure of manufacturing firms, and measured a wide variety of different structural variables (see charts below). Although she found that different organizations used widely varying structural arrangements, she was initially unable to identify any clear patterns in her data that would explain these differences. Finally, she found that an interesting pattern emerged when she classified organizations according to the technology used in their manufacturing processes. She defined a variable called “technical complexity” which refers to a combination of two ideas: 1) the volume of products produced by the firm; and 2) the degree to which manufacturing processes are integrated (or inter-connected) to result in a continuous flow of goods through the production operation. Woodward defined three levels of technical complexity: Unit production (lowest complexity): production of diverse unique products in single units or small batches; using stand alone production processes (e.g., job shops, custom producers) Mass production (medium complexity): production of large batches/volumes of identical or highly similar products; production processes connected to one another in
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course MANAGEMENT MSCI 311 taught by Professor Dumiering during the Spring '08 term at Waterloo.

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Chapter 8 - Woodward - Joan Woodward's Study of Technology...

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